Every writer wants to be able to write a lot and consistently. In order to do that, you need a writing routine. That is the easiest way to get to your goal of finishing a writing project (or ten) and have a progress bar that goes up instead of remaining stagnant for days (or weeks). With this article, I am hoping to give you some pointers on how to build a routine that works for you and suits your lifestyle.
Build a Writing Routine #1: Know Yourself & Your Schedule
In order to build a routine for writing, you first need to assess your existing routine. Everyone has a routine, mind you, but not everyone is aware of it. So, if you’re thinking you have none (or need a refresher), track your life for a week or two. Keep a note of every time you wake up, every regular work meeting, grocery shopping, or anything else that you do regularly. If you have a schedule already for work (or any other tasks), mark that down. At the end of your assessment period, you’ll have a pretty good idea when pockets of time occur in your existing schedule.
Build a Writing Routine #2: Experiment
Finding your perfect routine for writing might not be that easy. Even with pockets of time now known to you, other tasks might happen and every week could potentially look different as well. Here is where experimentation comes in. If you usually have time in the morning before the whole world is awake, try writing then. But then, somehow, you find yourself stuck with distracting yourself with too much caffeine and morning news. Perhaps early mornings aren’t the best time for you to write. So, switch it up.
Try that afternoon lunch break pocket of time, then. Or evening, right after everyone’s asleep. See what works for you after you’ve tried several different options, for a few days at a time.
Build a Writing Routine #3: Allow Some Wiggle Room
Sometimes, no matter how rigid you are with your time, it just slips away. It’s okay not to write at 12 PM on the dot even if that’s the writing routine you’re currently trying out for yourself. It’s okay to start at 12:05 PM, too, if your Zoom meeting ran a little late. If the only time you can write is the weekends and this particular weekend you have a family gathering planned with no room for your writing project to fit in, that’s also okay. Not every day, week, or month is ever the same. Sometimes falling off of your set routine is okay. Don’t make that a habit, though.
Build a Writing Routine #4: Schedule a Writing Meeting
Yes, that’s right. Schedule a meeting with yourself. It can be with another writer friend you have, but that’s not necessary. Once a week (or month), schedule in your calendar meeting in order to assess your progress, current routine (is it working? is it not?), and next steps for your writing project and/or career in general. This is a non-negotiable, distraction-free meeting to help you stay on track, adjust your routine, or plan for any future distractions to make up for.
Build a Writing Routine #5: Habit Stacking
Another idea to consider is something called habit stacking. It is what it sounds like. You already have a set of habits you do regularly, so pick on and stick your writing next to it. For example, right after you wake up, you like to make a coffee and browse the news articles mindlessly. What if you allow yourself no longer than 5 minutes of this activity and then switch the tab on your laptop to the writing software? It may be only 10 minutes of writing in the morning with a coffee cup in hand, but it all adds up. By the end of the week, that’s over an hour of writing!
Building a writing routine can take some time if writing is not something you do regularly already. It can shift and change as does your lifestyle. But that’s okay. Adjust to the ebbs and flows of life (and writing) and continue on your creative journey. Happy writing!
Did you find this post interesting? Check out our guide on how to stay organized for writers.